S68P4 – Through the belly of the fish: God’s patient grace

Jon. 2:6-7

I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.

She knew that God instructs us to be equally yoked in relationships, but he seemed like a nice guy even if he was not a Christian.  To her, he possessed enough other good qualities that she could wait and see whether he would come to faith in Christ.  Of course, those close to her counseled her not to take this risk, but she thought he was worth it. Before long, he would begin influencing her for the world more than she influenced him for God.  Beyond being an ungodly relationship, it eventually became dangerous for her.  Seeing God’s grace and mercy even during this time of disobedience and defiance, she dropped to her knees and asked for deliverance.  She would need to trust that God would step in and save her however He saw fit.

We hope that we will not defy the God we love and choose to follow, but it happens.  We rationalize our way into bad situations only to feel that we realize the truth a little too late.  It does not matter whether these decisions relate to finances or relationships or God’s calling on our lives.  The simple truth is that we have taken wrong steps which put us in positions from which we might feel we simply cannot emerge safe and victorious.  Those feelings, however, are a lie.  God wants us to know that He is waiting patiently for us to sincerely return to him. When we humble ourselves in recognition of our errors and submit to him anew, He will deliver us and put us back on the path He has chosen for us.

Jonah surely was in dire straits.  His disobedience took him to a place more dangerous than most of us ever will experience.  He was out in an ocean storm sinking to the depths of the waters.  The only life preserver available to him was God.  When we read the prayer he sent out to the Father, it is as if Jonah feels the same compassion for himself that God feels for him in that moment.  That is the heart God wants us to have when we find ourselves disobedient and in the dangerous place, that we would contend for our victory and deliverance with faith that it will come.  Father, thank You for being patiently gracious in your discipline, and give us the right attitude to submit to that correction always.